Gordhan must appear before the Public Enterprises Committee over Eskom’s energy plan regression

Issued by Ghaleb Cachalia MP – DA Shadow Minister of Public Enterprises
18 Aug 2022 in News

Please find attached soundbite by Ghaleb Cachalia MP.

With loadshedding continuing to impair the country’s energy security and Eskom struggling to meet its short term targets, as laid out in President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Energy Response Plan (ERP), the DA has asked the Public Enterprises Committee to step in and hold the Executive to account and bring the ERP back on track.

“I have today written to the Chairperson of the Public Enterprises Committee, Khayalethu Magaxa, requesting that he calls on the Minister of Public Enterprises, Pravin Gordhan, and Eskom CEO, Andre Ruyter, to explain the delays in fixing Eskom’s installed generation capacity and the hiring of retired Eskom engineers,” says DA Shadow Minister of Public Enterprises, Ghaleb Cachalia MP.

In the short term, and based on Ramaphosa’s energy plan, specific interventions were laid out to help fill the electricity supply gap:

  • Ramping up of Eskom’s power station maintenance programme;
  • Recruitment or rehiring of experienced former Eskom staff (Engineers, Power station managers); and
  • Procurement of electricity from neighbouring countries.

Not only is Eskom nowhere near to meeting these targets, but the entire ERP now faces the real prospect of permanent derailment due to an ineffective National Energy Crisis Committee (NECOM) which appears to have faded away.

Successive Eskom notices announcing loadshedding have shown that generation units have continued to trip across Eskom’s generation fleet, from Camden, Medupi, Grootvlei, Hendrina, Majuba and Arnot power stations. This either confirms that Eskom’s maintenance plan is falling apart or the delay in re-hiring former experienced engineers is impacting maintenance plans negatively.

The state of affairs is hardly surprising. The DA’s Energy Response Plan Implementation Tracker, which was launched last week, revealed that out of the 29 energy plan project goals being tracked, 20 of these (or 70%) are still yet to move beyond rhetoric or the conceptualisation stage.

The silence by the Speaker of Parliament, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, on the DA request to set up an Ad-hoc committee to monitor NECOM, will not stop the DA from using other parliamentary avenues to hold the executive to account over the ERP. The portfolio committee has an obligation to step in and demand answers on why the government is moving slowly on measures taken to improve Eskom’s operational performance.